ATHENS -- Greece is gradually inching back toward normalcy, cautiously planning for the future. For most, the past few months have offered a strange and unprecedented experience, but for some, daily conditions have been extremely demanding.
Every nurse, doctor, and member of the cleaning crews working on the front line in ICUs and COVID-19 clinics at referral hospitals across Greece has put their life at risk each day to care for patients suffering severe symptoms. The selfless, invaluable work of these more than 4,600 people has kept them top of mind for SNF in its efforts to support Greece during the pandemic. In recognition of their contributions, SNF is offering a gesture of appreciation totaling $7.5 million.
SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos articulated the thinking behind this exceptional move: “For us, supporting all of the doctors, nurses, and cleaning staff on the front line at all referral hospitals in Greece was, and remains to be, a matter of top priority. In them, we see real, everyday heroes who risk their lives to save the lives of others. This gesture of appreciation, which will be distributed equally to all, is a genuine ‘thank you’ from all of us. It is the least we could do for all those who offer so much.”
SNF will provide financial support in the form of an equal honorarium to all employees of ICUs and high-dependency units, as well as of the COVID-19 treatment clinics at the forty COVID-19 referral hospitals throughout Greece. All of them, irrespective of the position they hold, have put their lives on the line to help provide critical care to those who need it.
And they are certainly not the only ones. Many professionals in health—and other essential fields—have contributed their services in the battle against the pandemic. We are deeply grateful to all of them and extend our warmest “thank you” for their hard work and dedication. The needs engendered by the pandemic are vast, and the Foundation is not able to give the same honorarium to each of the professionals we humbly thank and esteem. We are here to complement, not to replace, the state.
SNF also seeks to help buttress the Greek health system’s preparedness to serve the public in emergencies like a potential second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. A grant totaling more than $17.9 million will make possible renovations at 15 hospitals across Greece to accommodate the addition of 155 intensive care and 19 high-dependency beds, as well as the implementation of an educational program for ICU staff. The new facilities will be equipped by the Greek state and other private donors. Working closely with the Greek government will tap into the power of public-private partnership, as does the Health Initiative, which also includes the renovation and outfitting of the 2nd ICU and Emergency Department at Evangelismos Hospital in collaboration with Thanassis and Marina Martinos and Aliki Perroti.
The honorarium for these employees on the front lines of the pandemic response in Greece, announced as part of the first round of grants in SNF’s $100 million global COVID-19 relief initiative, is a first step on a long path. The two rounds of grants made so far, totaling approximately $59 million, focus on meeting health needs, food and psychological support, emergency community relief, and more in hard-hit areas of Europe, the U.S., Africa, and beyond. Moving forward, SNF is committed to helping address the growing socioeconomic impacts of the crisis.